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My first impression of the guitar is okay, but I didn’t know it’s such a great guitar until I held it and played with it. It’s an awesome guitar. When I looked at the price tag, I know this is a great deal.
After a few hours of playing, I know that this will be my next practice guitar. Now that I got the chance to review it, I’m not having any second thoughts, but to share with you what I like and don’t like from this tiny instrument. Ready or not, I’ll give you a detailed review on Martin LX1E acoustic guitar.
- Guitar’s greatly made with HPL back and sides
- Small enough to fit the overhead bin and easier to transport
- Comes with heavier strings to give a big sound from its small size
- Better-sounding guitar than more expensive models
- Can’t be calibrated because it’s difficult to adjust the truss rod
- The action is quite high and hard to play a chord
- Doesn’t have position markers (inlays) on the fretboard
- Can still find more playable alternatives
Who would have thought that a simple and small guitar like the Martin LX1E would wow me in every way? This six-string acoustic-electric guitar has a lot more to offer than the full-sized and more expensive guitars out there.
Though it’s small, it has a very big tone quality and versatility. Hence, I’m going to uncover the mystery behind. At the end of this review, you’ll know what it’s made of, how great it is and how does it sound. I’m also going to discuss whether it’s a great buy and who is this for.
Design & Construction
Like the most affordable acoustic-electric guitar, Martin LX1E uses a solid hand-rubbed Sitka Spruce on top. The back and the sides have mahogany HPL (high pressure laminate) pattern with a warm satin finish, also expected from this price range. But, it’s looking good on the guitar.
The neck is made of Rust Birch laminate with a hand-rubbed finish. It has a modified low oval shape that boosts the playability of the guitar. Like most traditional acoustic guitar, this one has Natural finish, too.
It has 23-inch scale length, which is a perfect size of the guitar for traveling, camping or just playing around the house. The Richlite fretboard has a total of 20 frets with 14 clear frets, joining the neck to the body at the 14th fret.
The fretboard has a width of 2 1/16-inch at the 12th fret. Its nut width is 1 11/16-inch, a standard for most guitars, which even full-sized dreadnought guitar have this nut width size.
Unfortunately, there are no inlays on the fretboard where you’ll be guided on what fret you’re in. This might be a disadvantage for beginning guitarists, but, you can be familiar with it when you keep on playing. LX1E features a die-cast chrome-plated tuners, solid with LX taper headstock shape and small knobs.
The saddle is made out of TUSQ, a synthetic material that is better than cheap plastic. The nut is made of Black Corian, while the bridge is of a Black Richlite. Both the fretboard and the bridge really evokes the classy feel and look.
Though small, Martin still manages to add a few reliable electronics onboard. If you’re wondering how this small guitar sound plugged in. Well, it has a Fishman Isys T electronics that’ll allow you to get louder wherever you go. Aside from that, there isn’t much control onboard.
Since this is a travel guitar, I just want to highlight some of the accessories included with your purchase. You’ll have a luxury gig bag to keep the guitar safe and intact. Though it doesn’t have a hard case, this will give you comfort as you travel. So, whether you decide on playing guitar while waiting for your delayed flight or jamming with your friends riding on the bus, the LX1E is the one for you.
The neck and the action are the two things to consider when looking for a playable guitar. Of course, if you want a practice guitar, you need to use it often. This is the reason why you really need to try the guitar at a local music store.
The modified low oval neck ensures comfort and support as you grip your hands to reach the higher frets. You can play for hours and hours with great comfort and joy. Since the material used is certified, you are assured that this guitar is durable and will last for long.
Out of the box, the guitar has already a lower action. However, if you really want to achieve a professional-sounding instrument out of this small guitar, you need to adjust it further and have the intonation check, as well. Getting the lowest action requires a guitar tech to look into it, hence, an additional cost.
The fretboard has rounded edges for a great feel and ease as you move up and down, fast and slow. But, again, it doesn’t have any dot inlays. So, it’ll take quite some time to really familiarize with the fretboard without getting lost because of lacking fret markings.
Though the strings included are still reliable, if you want to change it to the strings you preferred, Martin has a recommendation for you. You can choose the medium phosphor bronze strings. But, if want much lighter strings, you can use the Takamine GS330S.
The guitar stays in tune well and provides you with a great music instrument anywhere you go. Whether you’re playing at home, practicing, or jamming by the beach or camping, this is a perfect guitar for anyone.
Yes, it promises big sound and for me, it’s just fine. With its small footprint, I am not expecting to really get a booming sound. But, some players that I’ve spoken with don’t like the tiny sound it produces.
It produces a quiet bright sound but lacks resonance. Hence, for some, it’s really a tiny tone in the ear. Yet, this guitar won’t disappoint you with its tonal clarity in the mids and highs. But, if you really want to generate the big tone out of this fella, you can use the pre-installed Fishman Sonitone pickup.
If your priority is a quality sound like those from expensive guitars, this one isn’t comparable to those. Perhaps, it’s a great choice for beginning players, but for experienced players, maybe you should try other alternatives.
Value for Money
Despite its features, most people still find it a little pricey. If not for its compact and great playability, I wouldn’t buy this one either. There are just many other alternatives to choose from.
However, if you’re looking for a reliable on-the-go guitar, this one is surely worth investing. The material, design, and size of the guitar is just perfect to give you one powerful and portable music instrument.
A straightforward and simple guitar that allows you to play loudly or play acoustically, Martin LX1E is a wise choice for beginners and seasoned players alike. Like me, I’m buying this as a backup gear and a go-to guitar as well.
I’ve laid the pros and cons of this guitar. So, it’s up to you now to decide whether this will be your next guitar or you need to keep looking. For me, some advantages of this guitar are its compact build and portability. You can bring it anywhere and can even be tucked away in your van or in the overhead cabin.
However, due to its straightforward design, it also lacks the position markers and you need to lower its action. If you can live with these two major drawbacks, you’ll surely get a wonderful and reliable acoustic guitar.